Parents fear for their children’s safety after learning a man awaiting trial whose bail conditions forbid him to be alone with children under 16 has been remanded on bail to an address near Waitakaruru school.
As members of the community retaliate with offensive spray-painted messages on the road outside the primary school, the school has implemented safety measures which will stay in place “until the person moves on”.
A Police spokesperson told The Profile that, for privacy reasons, the police were not able to disclose the specific location or details of an individual in this position.
However, the man’s bail conditions were provided to the school’s Board of Trustees chairman Kevin van Eyk, who said the man was not to be with any child under the age of 16 outside his residence, or to have the sole care of children inside the home.
“It’s not a pleasant situation, and we would rather he wasn’t in our district,” Mr van Eyk told The Profile.
“The best case for us would be that he wouldn’t be living near our school, exactly how that would work, I’m not sure. Legally, we have no ability to move him; legally, he can live there.”
Waitakaruru School has implemented safety measures, such as expanding their voluntary mini-van service to include pupils who would normally bike or walk to and from school.
“The school is well-aware of the situation, and we’re monitoring it daily,” Mr van Eyk said.
“Our principal and teachers are doing a great job keeping our children safe, and will continue to do so until this person moves on or goes to trial.”
According to the Courts of New Zealand, the presumption that a person was innocent until proven guilty was “fundamental to criminal law”.
On one hand, a court must not unnecessarily keep people in custody who may later be found not guilty. On the other hand, a court must take into account that certain people who have been charged with or convicted of offences may pose a risk of harm to the community, that they may offend again if bailed, or that they may fail to appear before the court if not kept in custody.
Police said there were strong processes in place to ensure anyone bailed to a specific address was monitored and adhering to their conditions.
By KELLEY TANTAU